Retailers get a jump-start on Black Friday

Stewart Samuel
Program Director - Canada

Date : 18 November 2019

With many retailers starting their Black Friday promotions and deals early, we look at how this key shopping event is evolving in the US.

Fewer shopping days

Black Friday shopping traditionally takes place on the Friday after Thanksgiving Day. This year, the key shopping event is scheduled for November 29. However, many retailers are already running their Black Friday promotions, a signal of the intense competition in the broader retail sector. Retailers are facing a significant challenge this year in that the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas is one of the shortest, resulting in fewer shopping days. Launching promotions early is the main way in which retailers are aiming to mitigate this.

‘Thanksgiving Weekend’ event

This year, the National Retail Federation (NRF), expects over 165m US shoppers to participate in what has transformed into a broader shopping window, the ‘Thanksgiving Weekend’. This incorporates Thanksgiving Day, with many retailers opening in the late evening, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Sunday, and Cyber Monday. This is helping retailers to build more noise around the event and keep a steady stream of new promotions coming into the market.

Walmart focused on convenience

Walmart is gearing up for the key event in several ways. In addition to helping its shoppers save money, it is also providing them with tools to save time. These include store specific Black Friday maps for each store. These highlight the in-store locations of the most popular deals. It is also using colour-coding to across its flyer, app and stores to help customers find specific items. The retailer will also be using its ‘Check Out With Me’ associates, which enable customers to bypass regular checkouts. Walmart has also launched a “Pre-Black Friday” event and made its Black Friday flyer available online, showcasing its key deals.

Source: Walmart

Target builds loyalty with exclusive access

Target has also launched a series of early promotions, with its Black Friday Preview Sale. Starting earlier this month, as part of its ‘HoliDeals’, the retailer ran a two-day event, featuring deep discounts on products across the store. Target will also be providing RedCard holders and members of its new Target Circle loyalty programme with early access to key deals, starting on the Wednesday ahead of the Thanksgiving Weekend.

Source: Target

Amazon focuses on curation

Amazon is showcasing its promotions and initiatives for the entire holiday shopping season within its ‘Holiday Store’. In addition to highlighting new promotions daily, it also offers curated gift guides across several departments, including toys, beauty and electronics. Customers can also use the Amazon app to receive notifications when deals are about to go live. Prime members also have access to selected deals 30 minutes ahead of non-members. The retailer is also using the holiday season to promote its range of fulfillment options including Amazon Day, Key by Amazon and Amazon Hub Locker.

Source: Amazon

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